Gail Gaymer Martin It's another writing blog day and I'm a day late, but better late than you know what. . .as they say. First I want to wish you a blessed Christmas and joy in the new year, and next I want to continue talking to you about the fourth point on the Outline series I've been sharing with you which is  Subplot Arcs.  At the Gideon conference, I had the opportunity to hear about some interesting concepts that work while outlining plot elements for a dynamic film or book. The fourth point under outlining dealt with developing subplot arcs.

4. Develop subplot arcs affect the main plot. Weave these subplot arcs through the novel rather than dropping them into the story and then resolving them early. A subplot must make an impact on the main story and change it in a meaningful way by adding conflict.

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Another Monday, and hello from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailmartin.com  I'm to share another topic on techniques in writing.  

Gail Gaymer Martin

I’ve been cover information I learned about screenwriting techniques from the Gideon Media and Film Festival. The third technique to enhance your novel is using setting to make a difference in characterization and mood.

3. Setting should be specific and used to deepen characterization and conflict, not just a place to plop characters. Setting influences the storyline because it influences the lifestyle of the characters, and it affects their needs and wants or their ability to reach these goals.

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Rick on Maui (2)How do terrorists terrify? By being willing to commit disturbing acts that decent human beings would never consider. Aspiring suspense writer: Go thou and do likewise (at least in print).

It’s hard to create tension if your readers can sense that there are lines you won’t cross. Once they know that you won’t let anything really bad happen to “good” characters, most of the suspense drains out of what should be tense scenes. They know the sweet schoolteacher in the car crash will be okay, the deranged husband of the vulnerable young woman won’t actually kill her, and so on. How can you keep that from happening?

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Kern_web shot Jan here, enjoying a beautiful fall afternoon in the foothills of the Sierras. Today I'm considering the readers of the books we are writing–the essential person that we must keep in mind.

Over the years I’ve critiqued quite a few nonfiction proposals and manuscripts. The writers pored out their souls in their manuscripts, sometimes to the point of (figuratively) bleeding on the page. Each hoped their story would make a difference in the lives of others who had experienced similar struggles.

I found the ideas of many of the stories compelling. And yet, for some, the delivery left me feeling alienated from or cautious about the heart of the message. Why?

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Rick on Maui (2) Last month, we started this series by talking about how old-school terrorists and suspense authors are the same in one important way: Like terrorists, we want to create uncertainty and tension that makes it impossible for our victims (er, readers) to focus on anything except what's going to happen next in the world we've created. Now we're going to start digging a little deeper to see what we writers can learn from the PLO and Baader-Meinhof gang.

A good terrorist introduces himself with something flashy and devastating, right? So does a good suspense writer. 

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